ZEPHYRHILLS — Four days after losing out on a playoff spot in a three-way tiebreaker won by Anclote, Zephyrhills found itself on the short end of a 17-14 score against winless Wiregrass Ranch midway through the fourth quarter Friday.
A late rally, however, capped senior night and gave the Bulldogs a 23-17 comeback win and a second straight 6-4 record while the Bulls finished 0-10 a second straight season.
Aside from coming up short in its playoff bid, Zephyrhills had two players ruled ineligible for the past two games and saw its principal resign amid a sexual harassment scandal.
"It's obvious that all the distractions took it out of this football team, but they showed some character in finding a way to win," coach Reggie Roberts said. "My seniors leave here with a win."
With time running out, Zephyrhills got a 30-yard run from backup running back Lorine Parker that set up Mike Smith's 16-yard touchdown pass to Devon Brockington. The Bulldogs clinched it when Wiregrass quarterback Shane Bucenell was called for intentional grounding while scrambling in the end zone after a snap from center sailed over his head.
Brockington, getting extensive playing time due to starting running back Willie Williams' ankle injury, rushed for a game-high 125 yards and had all three of his team's touchdowns. He scored on runs of 1 and 20 yards to stake the Bulldogs to a 14-10 halftime lead.
Bucenell passed for 109 yards and two touchdowns. His 4-yard scoring strike to James Jackson gave the Bulls a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, and his 15-yard slant-in to Mark Hutchinson in the third quarter resulted in a 17-14 lead.
Bulls kicker Bryce Wilson booted a 41-yarder in the first half, had a 44-yard attempt blocked by Devon Long and missed wide left on a bid from 42 yards out.